After announcing their intentions to challenge Cathay Pacific for passengers, Hong Kong Airlines will launch daily service between their home city and key American cities. Branding themselves as “affordable luxury,” will passengers skip the oneworld alliance partner for a new carrier promising lower prices?
The great experiment for passengers to and from Hong Kong is set to begin, as Hong Kong Airlines gets set to start its first routes between the United States and their home town. Forbes reports that the airline has announced the first of their daily service routes to and from America, as well as the entry price points for airfare.
From Los Angeles, roundtrip service will start at $550, with business class offerings starting at 10 times the amount. In March, the carrier will begin service nonstop service from San Francisco, with fares starting at around $539 for economy and around $2,813 for business class service. By the end of 2018, the carrier will also offer service to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and London Heathrow Airport (LHR).
Executives for the carrier say that their plan responds to the increase in demand from Chinese travelers who want to travel outside the country, while more people plan their trips to the semi-autonomous state. By offering an “affordable luxury,” the carrier believes they have a recipe for success.
“We define our product as affordable luxury,” George Liu, CMO of Hong Kong Airlines, told Forbes. “We provide good service for people both sitting in the front and people sitting in the back in economy class.”
With the market shifting towards low-cost passengers, will Cathay Pacific respond? Other expansions by low-cost airlines opened the door for airlines to begin offering bare-bones service, with both American Airlines and Delta Air Lines taking some of their “basic economy” fares international. As of now, Cathay Pacific has not yet announced if they will begin offering a basic service class to compete with Hong Kong Airlines.